Details: Avianca Lifemiles & Cardless USA Credit Cards

Details: Avianca Lifemiles & Cardless USA Credit Cards

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Several weeks ago, avianca lifemiles and Cardless announced plans to launch co-branded credit cards in the United States. The details of these products have now been announced, and the cards are open for applications.

This is the second set of new airline credit cards that Cardless is launching, as Cardless is also partnering with Qatar Airways Privilege Club on a new card portfolio.

avianca lifemiles’ new credit cards in the United States

Cardless and avianca lifemiles are launching two personal credit cards in the United States, including the avianca lifemiles American Express Card and avianca lifemiles American Express Elite Card.

For those not familiar, fintech firm Cardless has been doing some creative stuff in the credit card space. What makes Cardless unique is how quickly it’s able to launch new cards. Cardless can launch products faster and with lower startup costs than with other issuers, so it has allowed co-brand card portfolios to be introduced that might not otherwise be economically viable with one of the “big” players.

avianca lifemiles’ new USA credit cards

Let’s take a look at the details of these cards. Before we do, let me note a couple of points:

  • Cardless seems to have a policy of only approving people for one Cardless product, so if you apply, you’ll want to choose carefully
  • While this is an American Express branded card, note that this is simply because Cardless is using the American Express processing network, so this card wouldn’t follow the standard Amex card restrictions (like only being able to have at most five Amex credit cards)

avianca lifemiles American Express Card details

The avianca lifemiles American Express Card is the more basic of the two cards, and has a $99 annual fee. Here’s what you can expect in terms of the card details:

  • The card has a welcome bonus of 40,000 lifemiles — earn those miles after spending $3,000 within the first 90 days (if you joined the waitlist when the card was announced, you receive 5,000 bonus miles)
  • The card offers avianca lifemiles Silver status (Star Alliance Silver status) for as long as you have the card; this offers 30% bonus miles on avianca flights, priority check-in and boarding, five complimentary lounge passes and two companion lounge passes, one additional checked bag, and Star Alliance Silver status
  • The card has a rewards structure of 2x miles on avianca and lifemiles purchases, 2x miles on groceries and restaurants, and 1x miles on all other spending, all with no foreign transaction fees
  • The card offers a 5% redemption discount for avianca redemptions booked through lifemiles.com

avianca lifemiles American Express Elite Card details

The avianca lifemiles American Express Elite Card is the more premium of the two cards, and has a $249 annual fee. Here’s what you can expect in terms of the card details:

  • The card has a welcome bonus of up to 100,000 lifemiles — earn 60,000 miles after spending $4,500 within the first 90 days, and earn an additional 40,000 miles after spending $25,000 within the first 365 days (if you joined the waitlist when the card was announced, you receive 10,000 bonus miles)
  • The card offers avianca lifemiles Silver status (Star Alliance Silver status) for as long as you have the card; this offers 30% bonus miles on avianca flights, priority check-in and boarding, five complimentary lounge passes and two companion lounge passes, one additional checked bag, and Star Alliance Silver status
  • The card has a rewards structure of 3x miles on avianca and lifemiles purchases, 2x miles on travel and restaurants, and 1x miles on all other spending, all with no foreign transaction fees; on top of that, the miles you earn can be doubled each month, up to 1,000 bonus miles
  • The card offers a lifemiles+ lite membership, which ordinarily costs $20 per month; this offers 500 bonus miles per month, a 10% redemption discount on Star Alliance flights, and up to a 25% redemption discount on avianca lifemiles; the 10% redemption discount has no limit, and the 10% miles will be refunded within 15 days of a redemption

My take on avianca lifemiles’ new credit cards

Up until a couple of years ago, avianca lifemiles actually had two credit cards in the US market, issued by Banco Popular, though the cards ended up being discontinued. While I can appreciate that avianca has a big presence in Latin America, I found that to be an odd partnership, since Banco Popular doesn’t have much name recognition in the US mainland. Furthermore, lifemiles is also just generally appealing to those looking to earn Star Alliance miles. So I’m excited to see a lifemiles credit card product return.

What do I make of the value proposition of these cards? The fundamental issue that co-branded airline cards have is that transferable points cards are so lucrative nowadays, offering all kinds of bonus categories on spending. It can be hard for an individual airline card to compete with the rewards and flexibility offered by those cards.

That being said, I do think these lifemiles cards potentially have value:

  • If you fly avianca with any frequency, then having lifemiles Silver status is a great opportunity, for priority services, an extra baggage allowance, and even lounge access; that’s a good deal for a $99 annual fee
  • If you’re like me and make a lot of redemptions through lifemiles, then a lifemiles+ subscription is worth it, as you get 6,000 bonus miles per year, and can save 10% on award redemptions on Star Alliance; this would otherwise cost $240 per year, nearly the same as the premium card’s annual fee

So I think the value proposition here is actually quite good in terms of getting a return on your investment. Is there some unheard of value proposition here? No. But I’m still impressed by this card portfolio.

These cards will be an opportunity to earn more lifemiles

Bottom line

Cardless and avianca lifemiles are partnering on new co-branded credit cards in the United States. There are two cards — a $99 annual fee card, and a $249 annual fee card. Both cards offer avianca lifemiles Silver status, which offers useful perks if flying with avianca. Furthermore, the premium card offers a lifemiles+ lite subscription, which offers perks like a 10% rebate on partner redemptions.

I think there’s a clear case to be made for picking up either of these cards, assuming you fly avianca or redeem lifemiles with any frequency.

What do you make of these new avianca lifemiles & Cardless credit cards?

Conversations (8)
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  1. Steve Guest

    Can you spend $ to earn higher elite status over silver?

  2. David Guest

    Denied as well despite good credit scoreand income - not sure what profile they are seeking. Oh well.

  3. BC Guest

    Denied with 817 credit score. Cardless appears to be picky.

  4. Jeff Guest

    I assume that the avianca silver status that comes with the cards makes you qualified for the avianca family pooling.

  5. Peter Guest

    Oof… declined with an 802 credit score.

    First time in probably 10 years.

  6. Yafi Guest

    I’ve been subscribed to Club Lifemiles for a while and gotten great value on the 25% rebate on avianca flights for business class redemptions to Europe

  7. Portlanjuanero Member

    The passes don't allow access to the Avianca VIP lounges at BOG, right? Otherwise, I believe truly every other Avianca lounge is already available on priority pass

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Steve Guest

Can you spend $ to earn higher elite status over silver?

0
David Guest

Denied as well despite good credit scoreand income - not sure what profile they are seeking. Oh well.

0
BC Guest

Denied with 817 credit score. Cardless appears to be picky.

0
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